DAT conducts LOADEX in preparation for mission
September 30, 2010
By Staff Sgt. Crista Yazzie,
U.S. Army-Pacific Contingency Command Post Public Affairs
Lt. Col. Nathan Watanabe (left), and Staff Sgt. John Zahnee, both of USARPAC CCP, work together to stabilize the interior of a deployable rapid assembly shelter during Exercise Autumn Laulima, a baseline exercise to prepare USARPAC CCP to become FOC. (Spc. Monica Kelley | U.S. Army-Pacific Contingency Command Post)
FORT SHAFTER FLATS — Senior field grade officers, noncommissioned officers and junior enlisted Soldiers from the U.S. Army-Pacific Contingency Command Post worked side-by-side, Sept. 7-24, for Exercise Autumn Laulima, turning an empty field into a self-sustained operational command post, here.
Laulima is the Hawaiian word for teamwork, and in this case, that team was the USARPAC CCP.
“(This is) a fitting name for this exercise, especially since what we need this autumn is a lot of teamwork to get everyone trained up in this baseline-phase exercise,” said Lt. Col. Nathan Watanabe, chief of current operations, USARPAC CCP, who oversees the running of the current operations integration cell, which assembled tents and generators with the rest of the CCP during the exercise.
“Because we’ve had almost an 80-percent turnover in the past year, the CCP needed to build that muscle memory,” he said. “This exercise re-established a baseline familiarity with our systems, to include computer systems and theater battle tactical command systems, as well as our power generation systems and our tent and vehicles systems.”
Immediately following the CCP’s first load exercise, held Aug. 30 through Sept. 2, Autumn Laulima was held as one of many steps on the new unit’s climb towards becoming fully operational capable. Once FOC, the CCP will be certified to deploy anywhere in the Pacific command’s area of responsibility.
“The CCP’s mission is to be ready to rapidly deploy to provide a command and control headquarters to the USARPAC commanding general, in a humanitarian assistance, disaster relief scenario or small-scale contingency,” Watanabe said. “We also will provide a headquarters element for many of the theater security cooperation engagements for Pacific command. Because of this mission, we need to maintain familiarity and proficiency with our systems, and Autumn Laulima establishes that.”
The CCP is unique to the U.S. Army. The Army-level command consists of 96 core personnel, with 73 military occupational specialties, and is augmented by staff from the headquarters battalion, contracting, signal and intelligence elements within USARPAC, to support mission operations.
Autumn Laulima provided the CCP team an opportunity to test every one of its operational elements and assistance from other units was paramount to the success of the endeavor. For example, during the exercise, Spc. Richard Gitzschlag, power generation mechanic, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, USARPAC, taught team members how to set up generators and air conditioning units.
According to Watanabe, another important aspect of the exercise was support received from field service representatives. The FSRs are civilian-contracted subject matter experts on the computerized systems used by the CCP throughout the exercise.
Other units that assisted the exercise were the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade, 311th Signal Command, the USARPAC Main Command Post and USARPAC’s Headquarters Support Co. and HHB.
“For a unit that doesn’t take their systems out (to) play often, it’s going great,” said Bonnie Looke, digital system engineer, during the exercise. “Everybody is talking and the (entire) staff is out on the floor, fully engaged, which kind of surprised me. To see the unit this involved … was impressive.”